A Liberal Independent’s voting guide

Voting suggestions for Whatcom County and Bellingham political races from a long time local civic activist and non-partisan.

Voting suggestions for Whatcom County and Bellingham political races from a long time local civic activist and non-partisan.

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• Topics: Elections,

The way we choose how to vote really goes back to our basic personal values. Some of us value effectiveness in our lives. Some value fairness and feel life is not fair and that trying to make it so is unrealistic. Some base all on their religious faith, and some base all on their reason and reject faith. You get my drift. Most differences of opinion - and most arguments we listen to - are based on these core values and not the trivia that is the subject of the arguments. All this leads to how I select those I prefer as my elected leaders and public policy decision makers. 


Just as Hamilton cast the deciding vote for Jefferson as president because Jefferson had integrity and Burr did not, so also I will be voting for Tony Larson and not Pete Kremen. Pete is a corrupt and mean politician. It is sad to see my liberal and Democratic Party friends backing him and it shows me their moral compass has gone awry. Tony has integrity and listens. Tony is fair and seeks an open government. Tony has been in office only 10 months and has already shown an admirable ability to expose the money wasting budget practices of Kremen. Keep in mind that we could use a bit more integrity on the council - and it takes a majority of 4 to make laws. Tony will continue to be an honest voice.

Jack Louws needs the vote of liberals in order to win. Sadly, I keep running into liberal friends who will not be voting at all for either candidate for County Executive. Again, as with Tony, they disagree with some of his specific beliefs and so are willing to allow a much worse person into office. To my liberal friends - do you realize just how partisan and sneaky Doug Erickson is? He attends the ALEC annual meetings - and can be expected to introduce the type of laws into our county that are now tearing Wisconsin apart. Vote for Louws and put a person of executive ability and personal integrity into office. We haven't had that in 16 years. 


I'm strongly for Kelli Linville for mayor because she will bring competence to the office. Dan Pike had my support last time and most of his supporters are now backing Kelli. The main reason to vote for Kelli is because Dan has screwed up so much. He has done nothing to improve water quality in Lake Whatcom. He lied to us about the red light camera issue and sold part of our city to a sleazy Arizona company. He totally fumbled the Chuckanut Ridge process for months and wasted at least $3 million in overpayment. He has stalled the waterfront cleanup process and then blames the port. In general, the dog keeps eating his homework. Finally, his campaign is a deceptive one-slogan sound bite against coal trains. Given how he broke virtually every campaign promise he made four years ago, you can expect if he is reelected that the day after the election he will forget about coal trains. Seriously. 


Kelli will bring competence to the mayor's office. She is, as Riley writes, able to disagree and not be disagreeable. Unlike Pike. I believe she will make progress on cleaning up Lake Whatcom. I believe she will work with the city council and not treat them like mushrooms. I know she will take charge of the departments in city hall and improve public services. She will actually do what is possible to minimize trains, their noise, and their pollution. Pike cannot be believed.

Those are the three races where we liberals and Independents can make a real difference. These are the three where the outcome is hard to guess. Those are the three most important races. I urge you to consider integrity and competence over specific litmus tests. We need leaders who will listen and even change their minds on issues.

Tony Larson, Jack Louws, and Kelli Linville will all bring openness, honesty and competence to their elected offices. Their opponents will continue to not be honest with us and will serve themselves, not we the people.

Other races.

Jim Jorgensen for Port. Jim and Mike McAuley have begun to actually reform the Port of Bellingham. See my post about Charlie Sheldon restructuring the staff. Murphy has done little campaigning and we know little about him. Jim has served 8 years and is a decent and open guy. Let's reelect him.

Well, Elfo will handily win as sheriff. I like Harris's ideas for the jail near the courthouse and less emphasis on swat teams and more on investigating crime. With Louws as executive we might see some of these reforms. It is strange for anyone to vote for Kremen and also Harris - as Kremen has enabled most of the practices by Elfo that Harris has criticized.

Maginnis would make a great liberal county council person - but Crawford has that seat sewn up. Similarly, Barbara Brenner will get another four years to disrupt council proceedings with her unique attention-getting antics. Black is a good guy with good ideas but does not have a chance.

In Bellingham, I'll be voting for Larry Farr, mostly because he actually knows what he wants to do. If Seth is reelected, we will continue to have decent representation from him. Seth has been in government service since college - just like Doug Erickson - and he could benefit from a few years as a normal citizen before running for office again. However, Seth is a very nice, honest guy.

Either Barry Buchanan or Cathy Lehman will represent us well. I suspect Cathy will win because of her outstanding campaign style. Barry is a quiet guy but is also a very effective and good representative of the people of Bellingham. Cathy brings fresh ideas and would spark up the dour council. We can't go wrong here.

There are other races and I either do not know enough about them to suggest how others vote or it doesn't matter.

Initiatives. I'm voting Yes on every one except the County Charter amendment. That one gets a big NO. That council pay clause is the result of a corrupt process by Pete Kremen and Sam Crawford and should be thrown out. It is sneaky and designed to benefit them at our expense. More on my thinking on initiatives tomorrow.

So those are my thoughts. They are the result of following and enjoying politics all my life. In 1960 I got into a nose to nose argument with the Governor of Wisconsin at our college student union. Since then, I have attended political forums and sought out candidates to talk with or have coffee with. I watch their performance in office and am active in pushing them for causes I believe in. Through this I get a close measure of them as people and whether or not they are working for us or themselves. And if I don't know enough, I leave it alone. As an independent liberal, ideology and partisan politics do not influence my voting.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

g.h.kirsch

Oct 21, 2011

Boy! What a difference a year makes.

Your take on Linville last time out:

“For the 42nd Legislative race - Republican Vincent Buys might make a good state repesentative. He is very smart and handles himself well. Watching him speak at the Bill Mize Forum was an eye opener. He impressed everyone in the room. Kelli is of my liberal bent but she has been there long enough that she is now part of the problem. She is too secretive in processes such as water rights. If I were in the 42nd then Buys would get my vote.”

You really don’t like Dan Pike, do you.

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John Servais

Oct 21, 2011

Right, Dan Pike has done that lousy a job.  And Kelli has realized that a more open and inclusive manner is what we citizens want from our elected leaders.  Pike promised us openness 4 years ago and has gone very secretive.  So - what is a citizen to do?  We make a choice based on our hope for the next four years.

I recommend reading Sue Taylor’s article of a couple days ago on this site.  She has been very involved with our city parks for years and is for Kelli based on Dan’s dismal record this past year.

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Hue Beattie

Oct 21, 2011

Liberal in your support of consevatives.Don’t you think Crawford and Larson will follow Doug"s legslative adgenda ?

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John Servais

Oct 21, 2011

Vote for Louws so Doug does not get in there.  Yes, Crawford will follow Doug - but Larson has already shown that he can be independent of Crawford. 

I’m liberal in my desire for elected officials to have integrity over idealogical loyalty.  An environmentalist who is corrupt does not get my vote.  All of us - liberal and conservative - should support only candidates with integrity.  That is the only way out of our dysfunctional governments.  Kremen, Crawford and Ericksen should be voted out.

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 22, 2011

When you complain about pols becoming “secretive”, John, do you mean like when Kelli Linville put a bill together in secret with GP and the Port that would have permanently polluted Bellingham Bay with mercury laden dredgings from Whatcom Waterway?

Or do you mean like when Pike stopped returning your calls?

It’s a shame your personal vendetta has wiped out all memory of Linville’s abysmal record as a legislator.

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Daniel Kirkpatrick

Oct 24, 2011

John, if I read you right you are in support of initiative 1183, the measure that would hand our liquor stores over to the corporations.  I hope I’m misreading you.  1183 seems like one of the worst ideas to come along in years.  While I’m not a believer in government controlling everything, there are some areas (like distribution of liquor) in which I trust the government a lot more than corporate America.  I have seen other states where you can buy liquor 24/7 from any supermarket, and for my part I’d rather spend a few nickles more and accept a few limitations.

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John Servais

Oct 24, 2011

Daniel, yes I am very strongly in favor of 1183.  I have no philosophical problem with corporations as they are the best way for people to work together.  Corporation is not a dirty word for me. And, as a former bartender, I have seen first hand how corrupt our state liquor board is - and will always be.  And I believe in private enterprise doing what is profitable, not the government.  And we will get more tax revenue by privatizing the liquor sales and be able to buy a decent bottle of gin at a reasonable price.  And have a decent selection of liquors.  I could go on.  I’m voting yes on 1183.  Thanks for asking.

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Daniel Kirkpatrick

Oct 25, 2011

“Corporations… are the best way for people to work together.”  I have great respect for you, John, but this striking statement both explains why you would support I-1183, and saddens me greatly. 

I’m not anti-corporate.  Corporations have their place, and as someone who has taught entrepreneurship I celebrate certain aspects of corporations.  But hearing you put corporations ahead of families, neighborhoods, teams, cooperatives, campaigns, all forms of government, and all the other wonderful ways people work together—most of which are not profit-driven—is stunning.  I feel that you’re even more wrong on this than on your endorsement of I-1183.  I’ll be reading your views rather differently from here on out. 

That said, keep writing; I do value and appreciate the forum for the exchange of ideas.

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Todd Granger

Oct 26, 2011

Integrity John?

Oh yes the DUI pair, and the State Budget Bankrupt by Kelli and Friends, matching Pete’s wet dreamsand pay raises with McEachran blowing smoke up the Councils rear as usual forever!

Integrity, always depends on the meaning of the word “IS”(D)?

http://norwestreviewlocal.blogspot.com/2010/08/not-such-strange-bedfellows.html

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Hue Beattie

Nov 12, 2011

Looks like Crawford can’t sew.( 11/12 Maginnis pulls ahead) She has 89% in my precinct.

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